Feb 5, 2009
Author: Shane Thompson
Size Tested: 8m2, 10 m2, 14 m2
Style: Four-line SLE / Wind range: 20-35, 15-30, 7-20 knots, expert (180 lbs)/ What’s new: USB 2.0 bridle setup, wider MPC trailing-edge shaping, flatter arc, new bomber construction
The new ’09 Havoc Generation 3 emerges as a top contender in the freeride category and has performance applicable to a wide range of conditions and styles. This year’s Havoc is positioned as the most advanced yet user-friendly premium freeride kite in the formidable LF lineup.
Bar setup and safety systems
The Axis four-line bar has a clean, simple design with smooth EVA foam, colour-coded grip and bar floats. A single flagging handle on one side of the bar and another at the centre V is an excellent back-up safety feature. The long throw line utilizes a stopper ball and is adjusted at the chrome cleat conveniently housed in the centre of the updated quick-release trim loop. Working in conjunction with the USB 2.0 bridle setup, complete depower comes on with engagement of the long centre throw line and is ideal for letting go of the bar, retrieving the kite and riding again.
Key kite features
LF kites exhibit fine attention to detail, killer graphics, robust build and a ton of industry-exclusive design features. Premium features of the Havoc include the USB 2.0 (Ultra Stable Bridle Technology), diamond wingtips, static wingtip pulleys, a flatter canopy shape and the wider MPC trailing edge. Robust leading-edge build and single-point inflation system top off this premium engineered kite.
Our first impression of the ’09 Havoc was its robust construction with tons of reinforcement. The leading-edge bumpers wrap around the leading edge and cover up seams, lending confidence for those untimely powered crashes. In the air, the Havoc feels stable and solid, and even in strong gusts it maintains its stability and smooth pull. Depower comes on quick and within arm’s reach, and the kite maintains its steering control at all levels of depower. The bar pressure is increased slightly this year, enabling better positional feedback, ideal for waveriding and freestyle.
Testers ranked the Havoc as one of the best SLE’s for unhooked freestyle manoeuvres. Also impressive were the big jumps and hangtime available. Bigger glide than last year’s Havoc was noted by several testers. The water relaunch in moderate and strong winds is very easy and one of the most reliable in the test, even after being tumbled in the surf—a real confidence booster. The Havoc rivals the top SLE’s on the market that have attempted to merge the C-kite feel with the depower character of the SLE.
Low-end power is lacking in some sizes, but this can be overcome with the right quiver. The higher-end wind range is incredible.
The Havoc has come a long way from it inception three years ago. Its rock-solid stability in high winds combined with easy-to-access depower and unhooked performance allow it to rival any freeride or freestyle kite on the market. The Havoc easily meets the demands of a wide range of conditions, skill levels and disciplines.
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